History Behind Le Code Noir


Le Code Noir

Le Code Noir, New Orleans' first historical outdoor drama was written and conceived by Ms. Tommye Myrick and Former Director Emeritus of the United States Institute of Outdoor Drama – Mark R. Sumner in 2004.  The title - “Le Code Noir”, comes from the French King Louis XIV’s edict of 1685 which became the law of the land in Louisiana’s Antebellum South.  Unique only to Louisiana, enslaved Africans were allowed to gather in the late 1700’s – early 1800’s in an area away from the Mississippi River called “Place ’de Negres”.  There, on a weekly basis nearly 300 to 500 Negroes, both free people of color and enslaved would assemble in this open space.  This provision was permitted as part of a law called “Code Noir”-The Black Code.  Le Code Noir chronicles the life an 18-year-old enslaved African girl sold as a concubine by her master when he fled the Haitian Revolution.  For the next 40 years we follow Santee’s life in Louisiana that include the Treaty of San Ildefonso, Louisiana Purchase, the Slave Revolt of 1811, Louisiana Statehood, and the Battle of New Orleans.  The play, based on the creative dramatization of these historical events, presents and explores themes in Louisiana and U. S. History, centers on regionally and nationally recognized figures, and dramatizes a story of survival that has the power to create a sense of new and understanding of these remarkable events and individuals.